Essay On The Shawshank Redemption

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Stephen King’s novella, “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” and Frank Darabont’s adaptation, The Shawshank Redemption, offer a story about a man who is sentenced to life in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover. The predominant reading is that it is redemptive and hopeful. In fact, the term “redemption” in the title also seems to “invite theological exploration,” and many critics have taken on that task (Marsh 47). The story is laden with Christian symbols of rebirth, baptism, covenants, and simulates Biblical stories of Moses in the Exodus or the suffering of Job. The connection of this literary work with faith only reinforces the predominant reading. The Shawshank Redemption is so well received by American audiences because…show more content…
It is this aspect of Andy’s being that equips him with the strength and stamina to remain optimistic and hopeful under the stifling demands of Shawshank Prison. The prison’s power lies in the concept of institutionalism, as Red explains: “These walls are funny. First you hate them. Then you get used to them. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them” (The Shawshank). After being in prison for so long, prisoners learn the rules and how to successfully maneuver within its walls. They become dependent on the prison system. For years, inmates are governed by the prison system—a system that feeds, clothes, shelters, and protects them. Prisoners become reliant, and that reliance is so deep that, at one point in the film, Red admits that he has gotten so accustomed to having to ask “permission to piss” that he “can’t squeeze a drop without say-so” (The Shawshank). The narration at the beginning of the film reigns true: “They send ya here for life, and that’s exactly what they take . . . the part that counts anyway” (The Shawshank). The irony here, though, is that the prison system and its structure are exactly what allow Andy to establish his relationship with Red.
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